The Poets’ Pathway is a walking and biking trail approximately 35 kilometres long, much of it on already-existing walking paths through Ottawa. It runs from Britannia Bay beach along Pinecrest Creek and Nepean Creek, crosses the Rideau River and ends north of the Ottawa River in Beechwood Cemetery, where some of the poets lie.
The purpose of the Pathway is two-fold: it helps preserve greenspace in the nation’s capital; and it commemorates Canada’s ’Confederation Poets’.
When Ottawa became the capital of Canada in 1867, the Fathers of Confederation wanted to make it a capital worthy of comparison to any capital city in the world and encouraged poets, writers, scientists and artists to move to Ottawa to create the “Florence of North America.” A group that helped create Canadian English poetry and literature was The Confederation Poets, comprised of Archibald Lampman, Duncan Campbell Scott and William Wilfred Campbell. In 1892-93 they jointly wrote a column in the Toronto Globe entitled “At the Mermaid Inn” which has become renowned as the genesis of Canadian literary criticism.
As well, a group of French-speaking poets and authors belonging to the Mouvement littéraire came to Ottawa from Québec City when the civil service moved to Ottawa in the second half of the 1860s. This group included Antoine Gérin-Lajoie, Alfred Garneau, Benjamin Sulte, Achille Fréchette and others. They are considered some of the most important poets and writers in 19th Century French Canada.
A sense of place and the natural environment motivated the enduring literary achievement of the Confederation Poets and the Mouvement littéraire. The Poets’ Pathway honours and commemorates Canadian poetry and literature, in places that were the inspiration for some of Canada’s greatest words.
Photos from The Poet’s Pathway – personal collection of Jean Yves PelletierLeave a reply →